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Before seeing The Electrical Live of Louis Wain, I was sure that I didn’t know who Louis Wain was. But as soon as I started seeing his cat pictures, I realized that I have seen lots of his work.
My mother collected cats — figurines, jewelry, pictures, cards — anything with cats. I remember seeing Louis Wain’s work in her collection and at various times when I was shopping for things to add to her collection for her birthday, Mother’s Day, or at Christmas.
My mother was picky about her cats. She liked them cute or funny, not ugly. Only some of Louis Wain’s cats would meet her approval. I’ll choose illustrations for this post that I think would have delighted her.
I’m sure that The Electrical Life of Louis Wain would have delighted my mother, too, although Louis Wain’s story isn’t a particularly happy one. He did manage to create art throughout a difficult life that included constant money worries and mental illness.
A number of recognizable British actors are featured in this film. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game, Doctor Strange) plays the lead, even as he ages from a young man to a very old one. Claire Foy (The Crown, Women Talking) is the romantic interest, a governess employed to teach Louis Wain’s younger sisters.
We also recognized Toby Jones who we saw most recently in The Pale Blue Eye. Aimee Lou Wood was in Sex Education. The character played by Adeel Akhtar engineers the reasonably happy ending to a film that had become quite grim. I’ve seen Akhtar in the Big Sick and Les Misérables, but I really enjoyed him as Inspector Lestrade in the Enola Holmes movies (One and Two).
We impressed ourselves by recognizing the voice of Olivia Colman (The Crown) as the narrator.
The setting for The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is Victorian and Edwardian England.
The Kent Film Office detailed the filming locations that were used in that county.
Film Fixer, a British company that specializes in setting up location shoots, published a blog entry about their work with The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. I really like the first photo on that page with a modern skyscraper in the background.
The cinematography added to the whimsy of the film and our pleasure in watching it. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.